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Cummings $25 Million Grant Program

Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofits
to Benefit Local Communities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Cummings Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

01/08/21 5:00 PM


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Grants to Massachusetts nonprofit organizations in eligible locations to benefit local communities. Applicants must submit a letter of inquiry prior to submitting a full proposal. Funding is intended to support a range of local causes including education, social justice, human services, and healthcare. Applicants should be headquartered in and provide at least 50 percent of their services in the tri-county area of Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk counties. In addition, all funding requests should focus exclusively on operations within the tri-county area.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 138242

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:


Estimated Size of Grant:

100 organizations will receive grants of $100,000 each (for first-time and returning recipients)
40 organizations will receive 10-year grants ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 each (for returning recipients).

Term of Contract:

Except for the 10-year grants, most awards are disbursed over two to five years, depending on the size and needs of the organization.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Nonprofits that meet the criteria and provide some services statewide, or even in adjacent states, are eligible for consideration. Given the strong local nature of this funding program, however, local office/affiliates of national organizations will not be considered, even if they meet the 50 percent threshold, unless they have their own EIN.

Special consideration is given to nonprofits based in the 11 cities and towns where the Cummings organization operates commercial real estate. The Foundation may also give such consideration to organizations that are based elsewhere in the tri-county area and propose introducing programming or services in one or more of these 11 communities, especially Woburn. See:

While not in any way minimizing the value or importance of organizations focused on the arts (including dance, music, and theater), culture, athletics, or the preservation of land or historic buildings, these areas are not among this program's priorities. Additionally, animal welfare organizations are not typically considered for these grants.

501(c)(3) grant-making organizations will occasionally be considered for the Cummings $25 Million Grant Program, but grant-makers will be expected to demonstrate expertise and due diligence in their processes to select and follow up with grantees.

The grant program will not generally consider requests for:
- Endowments
- Medical research
- Religious endeavors
- Relatively new entities
- Political, legislative, or lobbying organizations
- Individuals or debt reduction, no matter how worthy
- Organizations that do not regularly file IRS Form 990
- Major capital campaigns, unless very near completion
- Very large organizations already supported by robust endowments
- Organizations that do not have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code
- National or regional organizations, or local branches thereof that do not have an EIN separate from that of the larger entity
- Organizations that discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, etc.
- Municipalities (including requests for public schools, police departments, etc.), except for the 11 communities in which the Cummings organization operates commercial properties
- Primary and secondary schools, except for those located in the 11 communities in which the Cummings organization operates. Schools in these priority communities will typically not be considered, however, if they charge significant tuition.

Pre-Application Information:

Application Timeline:
- July 6 - Letter of inquiry opens
- September 4 - Letter of inquiry closes (5:00 pm)
- November 16 - Application invitations and decline notices sent via email
- January 8 - Full applications due from those invited to apply (5:00 pm)
- Week of April 26 - Presentation Days
- Week of May 17 - Grant approval and decline letters sent via postal mail
- June 3 - Grant winner celebration

Organizations should submit no more than one LOI per cycle. Accordingly, larger institutions, such as colleges and hospitals, are urged to coordinate among departments before submitting any requests.

Foundation staff will be available to answer questions up until the deadline. Nonprofits are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and submit well before the deadline, as extensions will not be granted.

The Foundation anticipates inviting about 275 organizations to the full application stage.

Applicants selected for consideration for 10-year awarded will be contacted during the week of April 12 and invited to schedule a 45-minute time slot during which they will meet with and make presentations to Foundation volunteers.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit a Letter of Inquiry online:

Joel B. Swets, Executive Director

Joyce Vyriotes, Deputy Director

Heidi Heinlein, Grants Manager

Cummings Foundation
200 West Cummings Park
Woburn, MA 01801

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Massachusetts: Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties

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